Issue - meetings

Consideration of a petition relating to lighting in Sandford Park

Meeting: 20/06/2022 - Council (Item 9)

9 Light Up Sandford Park - Petition pdf icon PDF 853 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:


Richard Newman, petition organiser, was invited to address Council. He informed the meeting that he had submitted his petition requesting all pathways be lit in Sandford Park to Council in February this year. As it comprised 825 signatures it triggered this debate today.

Mr Newman highlighted that the people of Cheltenham are extremely keen for this petition to succeed, and he had been gathering further signatures resulting in 1.3 % of the population of Cheltenham or 1540 people having signed it in total. He emphasised to Members that there was an overwhelming desire for Sandford Park users to feel safer at night.

Sandford Park, as outlined in the council report, was the second most crime ridden in Cheltenham with a spike in criminal activity between 8 and 9 pm. If fewer crimes were reported later at night he believed this was due to the crime assessment statistics as being skewed.

He explained that users were afraid to use their own park after dark not just for fear of attack, but also due to other hazards. Lighting pathways was key to address these types of accidents. In terms of funding this, he questioned the use of public money at Boots Corner, citing the £85k used for improvements at Clarence fountain, rather than public safety in a town centre park. Finally, he invited all Councillors to come and see the hazards and dangers for themselves by meeting at 10 pm outside Wetherspoon’s for a walk through the park.

The Leader highlighted that crime prevention and community safety is a whole town issue and not limited to parks and gardens She referred back to her statement at March Council  where she stated that whilst the council does not have control over the wider issues of safety, she confirmed that it should have an active role and that, in order to ensure a meaningful debate, she had arranged a meeting with the PCC, Cheltenham’s MP and GCC and CBC Cabinet Members for Safety. She had reassured Members that the issue of safety was extremely important but could not be achieved by CBC alone- it needed government intervention and work with partners.

The Leader then informed that at the meeting of stakeholders there was agreement that partnership working was vital on the issue of community safety. Critical partners included :

-       Gloucestershire Constabulary in terms of enforcement, intelligence and data gathering

-       Criminal Justice System

-       Education providers

-       County Council (Highways)/Borough Council for lighting on highways, CCTV etc

She reported that the actions arising from the meeting included :

-       Police and Crime Commissioner and CBC to continue working to develop shared outcomes through the work of Safer Gloucestershire and the Cheltenham CSP and any subsequent bidding activity

-       Police and Crime Commissioner to provide data and intelligence on crime trends (including in parks connected to the petition)

-       Relevant GCC Cabinet Member to be engaged

-       Recognition that other mechanism going through Parliament, such as the Online Safety Bill

In the debate that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9